Wherever we live, our neighbour’s cats seem to visit us regularly. In our last home, we had two beautiful cats stay over - Faddy and Ember. In our new home, a lovely black and white cat is always knocking on the door! Quite literally.

Some people think all animals are the same - their behaviour mimics the other. But this is far from the truth. They all have their own unique personalities. Ember would give the most epic cuddles, but when she waited by the window to be let out - she'd swipe a paw at you and growl. We needed to use chopsticks as an extension of our hands - to open the window, so not to get scratched. You could say that Ember had her ups and downs.

Faddy, on the other hand, was the softest kitty that ever could be. She didn't have too much going on between her ears - the tiniest ball of white fluff I have ever seen. She would sit on the chair at breakfast - waiting for us. Faddy loved her free-range, organic eggs at breakfast time.

Our new black and white feline friend has other stories to tell. The other day, I heard a squeaking sound - like something pressed against the window. As I looked out the back door - there he was, rubbing his paws on the window pane, wanting to come in. This boy adores his cuddles. He claws his way up your neck, to put his cat arms around you for a hug. And if you put him down, he swipes at you. This feline friend is addicted to hugs.

These animal companions bring us so much joy, and it has been shown that their company helps reduce loneliness and improves our physical and mental health. There are thousands of shelter animals waiting for hugs. Giving a rescue animal a home creates a beneficial two-way relationship.  

Studies show that even the purr of a cat can help our physical health. Cats purr at a specific frequency - the ideal vibration level for heart health, blood pressure and bone growth. For many people, sharing their lives with a companion animal helps them feel happier. People often say they are such a tie. But they also give us so much joy. They listen without judgement. They can help us relax - alleviating worry and anxiety. They provide emotional nourishment. And for many elderly people - they are a comforting friend, helping tackle feelings of loneliness.